Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

About RadioMilwaukee's Music Awards

By Evan Rytlewski
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RadioMilwaukee celebrated two years of making the city's airwaves better and the city's music scene more visible last night with its 2nd Annual Milwaukee Music Awards. The winners were:

Winners of the 2nd Annual Milwaukee Music Awards:

*  Artist of the Year - Kings Go Forth (Listener Choice Award)
*  Song of the Year - "One Day," Kings Go Forth
*  Album of the Year - "Cathedral Square Park," The Lackloves
*  Vocalist of the Year  - Mark Waldoch, The Celebrated Workingman
*  Best New Artist - Kings Go Forth
*  TNT Award (Artist Most Likely to Blow Up) - Kings Go Forth
*  Club DJ of the Year - Kid Cut Up (Listener Choice Award)
*  Earwig Award (Catchiest Song) - "Foundation," The Rusty P's
*  Power "Poptart" Award (Power Pop Song of the Year) - "Latest Flame," Quinn Scharber and the…
*  Dance Track of the Year - "Fire," Codebreaker
*  "414 Music" Award (Best In-Studio Performance) - Stealin' Strings
*  Memorable Concert of the Year - Kings Go Forth at Bay View Bash (Listener Choice Award)
*  Album Artwork/Packaging of the Year - "Esque," The Rip Off Artists
*  The 88Nine Award For Music & Community Service - Figureheads

Kings Go Forth were the night's obvious winners, which makes sense. The retro soul outfit is one of the city's most original bands, and also one of its most commercially promising. They've already soundtracked a viral video hit in 2008, and by 2010 they may be soundtracking movies.

Do take the results with a grain of salt, though. The nominees and winners so closely mirror 88.9's tight playlist that I wish they'd named the event the RadioMilwaukee Music Awards instead.

The appeal of 88.9 is that it seldom plays a track loud, edgy or abrasive enough to cause the average John Mayer/A Tribe Called Quest fan's parents to change the station. It's a smart strategy, but by necessity it excludes some of city's best music, which falls well outside the Mayer/Q-Tip comfort zone. You won't hear any punk, metal, hardcore or gritty rap on the stationno dooming Malachi suites, no spastic Pigs on Ice tracks, none of Streetz & Young Deuces' Midwestern crunk. That not one artist who recorded at Howl Street Recordings was honored at the Milwaukee Music Awards should be a red flag that, like the WAMI's, this is an event that honors some but by no means all of the city's music.

Update:Deciderpundit Steven Hyden gives his post-mort, astutely noting that Kings Go Forth won five awards, which is "practically an award per song Kings Go Forth has released so far."

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